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Victor Searle

For more than 60 years Victor Searle (1929-2012) served as a music educator, organist, composer-arranger, choral and instrumental conductor at universities, churches, and civic organizations throughout Japan. A native of Oklahoma, he arrived in Japan as a teenager when his father was assigned to Gen. MacArthur’s staff. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with degrees in organ and opera, Mr. Searle returned to Japan accepting an appointment as university organist, professor of music, and director of the famed male choir at North Japan University.

From 1960-2002 he served the music faculty of Nihon University after finishing graduate work at Westminister in Princeton, NJ. His arrangements of African-American spirituals and Japanese folk melodies gained wide acclaim and are performed by choirs throughout Japan. He was a respected consultant for organ installation and restoration, personally renovating the historic Mistukoshi organ. His teachers and mentors include Robert Shaw, Mildred Andrews, Dame Eva Turner, Giuseppe Bentonelli, and John Finley Williamson. Additionally, he served as interpreter for Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, Alan Hovhaness, Aaron Copland, and Virgil Thompson and other great musician during their visits to Japan. Mr. Searle made numerous appearances on national television and guest conducted orchestras and choruses in Japan.

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